Wiggling is just about the cutest thing any cat can do, or at least that’s what it seems like when you talk to cat owners. I love watching my cat get ready to pounce a toy or chase after one of my other cats. But I’ve noticed that my cats don’t always wiggle before pouncing. Sometimes they do, sometimes they just pounce, and sometimes they wiggle for a minute and then settle back into a loaf. So, why do cats wiggle before pouncing?
Wiggling is a way for cats to find the right angle before they pounce. Cats calculate the angle, how much force, and which limbs should be involved in a jump. There are also theories about wiggling to help improve their grip on the ground for better jumps. Wiggling may also help your cat check in with different senses to get them ready for pouncing.
Unfortunately, we can’t just ask cats why they wiggle, so it’s hard to know for sure what they’re doing or why they do it. One thing is certain, though; there’s a lot more to your cat’s wiggles than just being cute!
Why Do Cats Wiggle Their Butt Before Attacking
Wiggle butts are even more adorable than regular wiggling from your feline friends. Still, I found myself wondering if there was something different about this kind of wiggling compared to other wiggles.
I noticed that my younger cats seemed to wiggle butt more than my older cats, but the more excited my older cats are, the more likely they will wiggle their bottom.
The answer was pretty simple though, wiggling their bottom is similar to wiggling. It just may be a little more obvious to people because they move more when they wiggle their back feet and hips compared to when they wiggle and adjust their front paws.
There are many theories about what wiggling accomplishes, but it’s not clear which reason is the most important. Likely your cats are wiggling for several reasons.
One possible cause that we haven’t already talked about is warming up. Wiggling their back feet and legs may be similar to people stretching before a hard workout or running a marathon.
There are many reasons for this theory, but one of the big ones is that jumping is a high-energy activity that takes a lot of force and needs to be very precise if cats want to land on their target. Wouldn’t you want your muscles to be warmed up and working their best before you performed a complex gymnastics routine?
Butt wiggles also allow your cat to adjust its position slightly. Every time they lift their weight off their paws, they can move them, often by just millimeters at a time, until they’re perfectly positioned for their leap.
But why do cats sometimes lay back down after wiggling their butts if it’s all about getting ready for a big jump?
Well, there are a lot of theories about this too. The main reasons are usually pretty simple, though. Your cat may simply have lost interest in whatever they were about to do, especially if they were distracted by sudden movement or sound somewhere nearby.
Since leaping and pouncing are also hunting behavior for cats, they may have decided that catching their target isn’t worth the energy and effort. Or, they might have just forgotten why they wanted to jump up onto that particular shelf.
Without reading their minds, we probably won’t ever know for sure why cats sometimes wiggle without jumping. But we do know that it’s cute!
Why Do Cats Like To Pounce
There are many reasons cats like to pounce, but it all comes back to playing and hunting behavior. Pouncing is an integral part of how wild cats hunt and capture prey. It’s also part of how cats play with one another, especially young cats that are still learning how to hunt.
Even though domesticated cats usually don’t have to hunt for their own food, they still have the instinct to pounce.
Pouncing is a way for cats to initiate play with one another and with you! Younger cats are more prone to pouncing for play because they tend to be more playful. Bored cats are also more likely to pounce at you, their toys, or even just regular objects because they are trying to find more stimulation.
Why Do Cats Pounce On Each Other
Much like cats might pounce on you to try and initiate play; they’ll pounce on one another for the same reason.
It’s important to watch all the cats involved, though. Pouncing can be playful and healthy behavior between cats, but it can also be aggressive. If your cats start playing and have forward-facing ears and don’t growl or hiss, the pouncing is probably playful and good for them.
But if your cats start growling or hissing and batting at one another, they aren’t playing and probably aren’t ready for pouncing quite yet.
Why Does My Cat Pounce On Me At Night
Most cat owners have been woken up by their cats at least once. One of the least pleasant ways? When your cat decides to pounce on you (especially your face) in the middle of the night for no apparent reason.
Fortunately, like all cat behavior, there are usually reasons behind their pouncing.
We’ve already talked about how cats pounce because they are bored. Since cats are naturally awake and active for at least part of the night, it’s easy for your cats to get bored in the middle of the night. Since you are a big part of their world and usually provide mental stimulation by interacting and playing with your cat, pouncing on you seems like a natural solution.
After all, if you’re awake, you can help entertain your cat, or so they think!
Of course, being woken up in the middle of the night is rarely pleasant. It’s natural to try and prevent your cat from waking you up this way, which is what the next section is all about.
How Do You Get Your Cat To Stop Pouncing On You
Sometimes you cat pouncing can get a little tiresome, especially in the middle of the night. Fortunately, there are some things you can do to discourage your cat from pouncing.
The first option is usually the simplest. Try giving your cats more toys and things to interact with so they don’t get bored. Things like toy mice, hanging feathers, and even cat trees can all help your feline friends occupy themselves without having to bother you.
If that doesn’t work, it may be because you have rewarded pouncing behavior with attention in the past. Cats will remember that you chased and played with them and try to get you to do it again.
Try ignoring their pouncing and see if you get better results. You can also say no or make a sound to discourage them. Be careful that you’re not giving them too much attention while you say no. For some cats, any attention is encouragement, even disciplinary attention.
If that still doesn’t work, you can try using a spray bottle when they pounce. Alternatively, you can try putting your cat in time-out by locking them in a room for a short time after pouncing. If you do put them in time out, you should make sure they still have access to water and a litterbox, as well as food if they are free fed.
What Helps A Cat Leap and Pounce
Most cats can leap and pounce without any assistance, assuming they are in good health and have a reason to want to.
If your cat is starting to have trouble leaping and pouncing, you should first check to make sure they are at an appropriate weight. You may also want to talk about your cat’s diet with their vet to make sure they’re getting plenty of calories and good nutrition.
You may also want to consider checking them for arthritis and other joint problems if there aren’t any other obvious reasons for them to struggle. If your cat is showing signs of arthritis, you should talk to your vet about possible treatments and options to improve their quality of life.
Once you have good treatments for their joint health, along with a high-quality diet and good weight, your cat should be able to leap and pounce more normally.
However, if none of those problems are to blame, you may want to consider whether their eyesight might be to blame. Cats can have bad eyes just like humans can and are much less likely to pounce and play if they can’t see clearly.
Unfortunately, unlike the other problems we’ve covered, there aren’t many good options for treating a cat’s eyesight. However, the good news is that cats can learn to function with poor eyesight, or even total blindness, as long as you help create a safe environment for them.
If you’re trying to encourage a cat to pounce for the first time, try tempting them with a treat or toy that they need to jump to reach.